Who applies the penalties in MotoGP™?

Find out exactly how penalties are decided in the MotoGP™ paddock

It’s been a big talking point in 2023 already, so we’ve put together a brief explainer on exactly how penalties work. The governing body of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship – the clue is in the name – is the FIM. That’s the Federation International de Motocyclisme or the international motorcycle federation.

The Grand Prix Commission, formed by the FIM, Dorna, IRTA (Team Association), and the MSMA (Manufacturers Association) are in charge of making the regulations, and if there are infringements, that’s where the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards panel comes in. The panel comprises three people: two Stewards and the Chairman of the panel. The two Stewards are nominated by the FIM and are currently from Slovenia and Spain, and the Chairman is nominated by IRTA, the teams' association. Currently, the Chairman of the panel is three-time World Champion Freddie Spencer, from the USA.

Dorna, the commercial rights holder, must approve the Stewards nominated by the FIM and IRTA at the beginning of the season, but Dorna does not take any part in disciplinary decisions or apply any penalties.

The FIM MotoGP™ Stewards panel reviews all incidents and decides whether or not to apply a penalty, and what that penalty should be, according to the FIM Grand Prix World Championship regulations. If a penalty is applied, in some cases the rider/team can then also decide to appeal.

If they appeal, the penalty and incident is reviewed by the two-person FIM Appeal Stewards panel, which comprises members of the FIM Circuit Racing Commission. The members are on rotation throughout the season.

The FIM Appeal Stewards may confirm or overturn a decision of the FIM MotoGP Stewards panel, or impose a different penalty according to the regulations.

However, the FIM Appeal Stewards can also decide to refer the case to the MotoGP™ Court of Appeal “if it appears impossible to deal with the case for any valid reason”.

The FIM Legal Director appoints the judges who will constitute the MotoGP™ Court of Appeal. Once the evidence is gathered and the case is heard, the Court will then issue a decision.

The final recourse any team or rider then has, if they do not accept the judgment of the Court of Appeal, is to take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). That’s an external court and is not ruled on by the FIM.

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